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21 May, 2020 16:11

Tory branded ‘arrogant hypocrite’ after calling left-wing UK MPs ‘lazy’ for wanting remote parliament to continue

Tory branded ‘arrogant hypocrite’ after calling left-wing UK MPs ‘lazy’ for wanting remote parliament to continue

A Conservative lawmaker has faced a fiery backlash after calling left-wing and pro-Scottish independence MPs “lazy” and “work-shy,” after they voiced opposition to returning to a “physical” Parliament, amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Henry Smith, the Tory MP for Crawley, took to Twitter on Thursday to make the accusations – insisting that he wasn’t surprised at the “the lazy left,” but that it was “interesting how work-shy socialist and nationalist MPs” had tried to avoid travelling back to their place of work.

Since the coronavirus lockdown was introduced in mid-March, UK lawmakers have been actively encouraged to work from home via Zoom, with only around 50 MPs allowed in the House of Commons in Westminster at any one time. The “hybrid parliament” is set to come to an end soon, with MPs expected to make a return in person on June 2.

The harsh tweet provoked a hostile backlash online, with many accusing Smith of hypocrisy, and using it as an opportunity to take a swipe at PM Boris Johnson who has been noticeably absent in recent weeks. 

One commenter tweeted: “You have to have some balls to call the left ‘work-shy’ when your boss is Boris Johnson.” While others labeled Smith “idiotic” and an “arrogant hypocrite.” Some also trolled the Conservative backbencher with images of Tory MPs caught sleeping at work in the House of Commons. 

A letter signed predominantly by opposition MPs, but which did included some Conservatives, argued that a return to a “physical” Parliament could lead to those in high-risk Covid-19 categories – including BAME MPs, older MPs or those who are pregnant – being disproportionately restricted.

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose role is to set the agenda for parliamentary business week-to-week, argued that if schools and other businesses were being told by the government to return and reopen on June 1, then MPs should too.

“We have to recognise that if we persist with the present arrangement it will become harder to make progress in a timely fashion,” he said.

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A number of UK lawmakers have contracted coronavirus since the start of the outbreak – most notably the prime minister – who recovered after being admitted into intensive care. Johnson officially returned to work on April 27.

The latest data published by the Department for Health and Social Care on Thursday showed that the UK Covid-19 death toll has surpassed 36,000. 

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